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Retranslating Strindberg: Adaptation, (re)location and site-related performance

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This article offers a practitioner’s perspective on the experience of adapting, devising and co-producing A Dream Play for a northern British audience at an art cafĂ© during the Manchester Festival Fringe in 2015. It explores how the process of re-versioning A Dream Play provides insights that might be of relevance to the fields of adaptation and translation studies. Starting from the position that translation is ‘rewriting’ – an ‘active form of interpretation whose cultural impact is extensive’ – the article argues that the adaptation of August Strindberg’s text to a devised, site-related performance amplified that ‘cultural impact’ through its ‘retranslation’ to a non-traditional theatre site. In shaping the responses of cast and audience to the physical performance space, the production created a ‘poetics of the collective’, which permitted a new engagement with Strindberg’s canonical text. The piece concludes with some reflections on the constraints of the writer-adaptor in the re-visioning, particularly in an iconic text such as A Dream Play.
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Keywords: August Strindberg; adaptation; collaborative participation; devising; embodied presence; site-related performance; translation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Leeds Beckett University

Publication date: 01 May 2018

More about this publication?
  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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